Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Global Warming vs. Pollution: Can any sane person deny the reality of both?

by GlennDL
Denying global warming has gotten to be a cottage industry as prolific and profit-generating as any that preceded it.* 
As a result of the growth of this industry, it is difficult to find a 'denier' who isn't well equipped with an abundance of talking points masquerading as science. Whatever is their motivation these talking points embolden them to offer endless and often meaningless rebuttals of facts making civil debate tenuous if not impossible.
A collision of 'cherry-picked' facts and talking points will not produce a conversion of deniers, either uninformed or well-informed.
In terms of climate change, only the results of time will shock some people. One tactic is to instill doubt by avoiding the climate change argument and focusing on the antipollution argument. Argue the damage being done now by current pollution levels and past:
  • With 11,000 miles of coastline, The Great Lakes are the world's largest body of fresh water on earth (one-fifth of the planet's fresh surface water supply). It has been heavily polluted since the 1960s. In 1970 Lake Erie was declared a dead lake. Progress in reversing the decline of the Great Lakes over the last 60 years has been slow, precarious, and continually threatened.
  • The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is a floating collection of garbage in the Pacific that is estimated to be the size of the state of Texas.
    Another patch of garbage, discovered in 1972, has been found
    in the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic patch is smaller than the Pacific but still of significant size. It has been estimated with new technologies it would take 5 to 10 years to clean up the Pacific patch. Neither of these garbage patches was discovered until they reached a massive size. 
    The major source of this pollution is freshwater runoff such as the draining of the Great Lakes into the ocean, as well as run-off from other waterways and coastal cities. This runoff continues today… 50 years after the discovery of the Atlantic patch.
    Worse yet is the fact that there are bound to be more patches, smaller but growing and we are only seeing the garbage and debris that floats… what about the sub-service runoff?

There are other examples of serious pollution that rise to the level of potentially being a worldwide crisis: Killer smog in cities dating back over a hundred years, landfill shortages, fracking contamination, worldwide strip mining, deforestation, all threaten our current environment and sustainability. All have existed for decades while facing little resistance to exploitation. The solutions to these pressing problems are just as important to our current pollution problem as they are to our long term climate problem.
The idea that the world is just too big to pollute is critical to the climate deniers but the scope of unrelenting pollution on these levels dispute that claim.

Converting the deniers.
Diverting the debate from climate change to fighting pollution may be a more effective way of neutralizing the climate change-oriented talking points. By diverting the discussion from the talking points you may find a more effective way of getting your point across by addressing undeniable pollution facts that raise a sense of urgency. This approach can be effective in circumventing talking points. Not to say it works in converting every denier, or that it results in any more than stymieing the denier, but directly attacking the denier on his ground seldom works… no matter how right you are. They believe what they want to believe.
The objective in a debate is not to change the mind of someone but to persuade them to 'consider' a different possibility. That consideration can open the door to doubt.  If you fail to instill doubt in them whatever you accomplished at the moment will be reversed once they return to the environment that produced their position.
It's like trying to help someone in an abusive relationship. They know it's wrong and that they need to get out of it. But they cannot get out of the relationship until they get out of the environment and as long as they believe that things could change they will return to that relationship. They want to believe that things could change for the better but not until a seed of doubt is planted by a traumatic and eye-opening event will they truly leave that abusive relationship.
The problem with climate deniers is that there is little chance that a traumatic or eye-opening event will occur soon. Most of the effects of climate change occur slowly and over decades or centuries. Temperature changes, rising sea levels, the extinction of species, the decline in nutrients and protein in our food sources, the slow decline in some sources of drinkable water will all fail to register until we are past the point of reversal.

You can browbeat people into submission, you can out 'talking points' them, you can guilt or shame them into silence, and you can even get them to confess they're wrong, but these seldom result in changing their minds for any longer than it takes for them to get away from you, shun you, or decide to dislike you. You can even 'strawman' their sources to the point they realize the fallibility of those sources, but that will not guarantee their conversion. If you don't produce a seed of doubt they will simply continue to hold their belief below the surface.

  1. Did President Trump Reverse an Insecticide Ban After Receiving $1 Million from Dow Chemicals?
  2. World’s Largest Producer of Toxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Ends Its Production

*anti-vaccine myths, birthers, moon landing deniers, ancient flat earth beliefs

Rolled Back Under Trump

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